Ignoring Shrewsbury relief road objections would 'silence public opinion'

Campaigners say ignoring more than 4,400 objections to the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road would be an "underhand attempt to silence public opinion".

An artist's impression showing part of the planned relief road
An artist's impression showing part of the planned relief road

Better Shrewsbury Transport are calling on Shropshire Council to confirm that all comments submitted to the planning application will remain valid and be considered in the planning officer's report.

It comes after revised plans were revealed last week which claim to have shaved £7 million off the £87 million expected cost of the road, and to have reduced the carbon output of building the road by 22,000 tonnes.

The planning application for the four-mile road, which would run from Churncote Island to Battlefield, generated thousands of responses, mostly negative.

Frank Oldaker, a spokesperson for Better Shrewsbury Transport, said: "Shropshire Council seems to be deliberately muddying the waters with this revised proposal. We have been told that none of the objectors have been alerted to the revised plans, despite the fact that the council has a database of over 4,400 names and contact details. A cynical person might wonder if the council was trying to wipe the slate and restart the objection process after the huge public backlash that we saw earlier this year.

"Given that the revised plans haven’t addressed the key issues with the road, we are calling on the council to confirm that all 4,436 objections will remain valid and will be recorded in the planning officer’s report. Any attempt to do otherwise would have to be seen an underhand attempt by an arrogant council to silence public opinion."

He added: "We have reviewed the council’s revised plans in detail and it’s clear there has been little significant change beyond the removal of the crawler lane and the introduction of a short embankment. The slightly amended Environmental Impact Assessment reports the knock-on effects of these changes but does not address key criticisms. We are hugely disappointed by this, especially since the council explicitly said it would listen to people’s views and recent announcements had led us to expect more substantial changes.

"These revisions are nothing more than rearranging the deckchairs. The council said that the chief motivation for making the changes was to reduce the road’s cost. None of the changes address the key concerns objectors have raised, namely: the road being incompatible with the council’s climate emergency; the need to invest in alternative transport measures to meet the government’s net zero target; protection of veteran trees and the road’s impact on the town’s drinking water supply and the 'Green Wedge'."

Councillor Alex Wagner said: “I work closely with Net Zero projects in my day job, I know as well as anyone the challenges we face to meet our commitments to getting emissions down – this project would put Shropshire years behind the rest of the country and cause irreparable damage to our green wedge.”

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